We want to give you an update on our Christmas Eve outreach dinner, and some events preparing for that. But, first.....
We hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas. We know many, many of you had weather issues to contend with and we were praying that it would not put a damper on your celebration of Christ's birth!
Yes, Christmas here was sunny and warm, I even washed the car in shorts and a tank top. But....we also were affected by the weather.
My sister Terry, and her son Cesar (Felicita and Maria's little bro), were scheduled to be with us Dec 22 - 28, but as they were waiting in line at Sea-Tac airport to leave, they were informed their flight had been canceled. So they never made it. We were all so very disappointed, but now look forward to their visit hopefully in February!
We had a very relaxed Christmas, Kimber is here with us so we were only missing our son, Jacob.
Family at Christmas missing Jacob
We know many of you were praying for our activities planned around Christmas, and we want to report that you were very effective! Things went even better than we could have hoped!
Quick rundown.....we began plans a couple months ago to hold a Christmas Eve dinner / outreach at Casita Benjamín, a care center for children located by the large Guatemala City dump in a very poor neighborhood. For many families in this area Christmas can be a very sad, depressing time. Many cannot afford to buy even one gift for their children, much less provide a typical Christmas Eve dinner of Tamales, Ponche y pan.
We began practicing Christmas carols with our youth group from church. They all are from a children's home, most are orphans themselves. The idea was for them to help with the program by singing, helping with a children's program while the adults would have an evangelical message, then to serve the Tamale dinner. For practice, we took the youth to Kairos House on the 17th to sing for the people there. It was a wonderful evening of Christmas carols and worship!
Some of our youth group singing and dancing at Kairos House.
On the 23rd we had all the girls in the group over to our house to help bake cookies for the Christmas Eve dessert! They made over 500 cookies! And we had a LOT of fun too! It ended up being an almost all day event, and we had flour ALL OVER! Pizza for lunch and a movie to end the afternoon. They also made a lot of decorations for Casita Benjamin.
Making lots of cookies!
Making decorations too!
Frosting some of the 500+ cookies!
Watching Polar Express and eating popcorn!
Christmas Eve we picked up the youth in a rented bus at about 1:00 PM. We were at Casita Benjamin by 2 and began decorating and preparing. This being the first time this has been done there, we had no idea how many people would come, it could 40, or 175.
The people began arriving about 4 in the afternoon, as it was scheduled for 4 - 6:30. It is a very dangerous area, and everyone arrived by foot, so we wanted them to get home before it got too late.
Decorating Casita Benjamín
Practicing songs before people arrive!
Our youth were FANTASTIC!!!! I am so proud of them. They did GREAT. They sang beautifully, kept the children entertained during the adults program, and served everyone there with a smile and with joy!
We never got an actual count of people (it was a little busy) but estimate probably around 100 people not including our youth and some other helpers, Casita staff etc. Maybe 130 in all. It was so well received it looks like this will become an annual event!
The adults loved it, and we know the Lord is working in many hearts. Everyone there, adults and children received a gift and the smiles were EVERYWHERE!
Singing carols before dinner
Some of the children's program
Singing Noche de Paz (Silent Night) with candels
After the people left, we cleaned and returned by the bus to our church for a Christmas Eve service and, you guessed it, another Tamale dinner! Again our youth served the meal. That hadn't been planned because we knew we would be arriving late, but they just did it on their own!!!!
Bus ride home after a FANTASTIC outreach!
It was amazing, God was very evident through it all. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT OF THESE EVENTS! Many, many people were reached.
Again, Thank you, and may the Lord bless you each and all, now, and in the new year to come!